The Jewish Home faction announced Tuesday that it is cutting off all negotiations with Likud over the formation of a coalition, since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not yet answered Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett's request to give him the Education Ministry, despite promising to do so within 48 hours, when they met Saturday evening.
The Jewish Home said that it would not return to coalition negotiations until it receives answers regarding its demands for laws curbing Supreme Court activism, construction in Jerusalem, and the portfolios that the party will receive.
The Jewish Home's announcement does not include the demand for an end to the quiet building freeze in Judea and Samaria – and this may indicate that the party has withdrawn this demand.
Meanwhile, the UTJ team stormed out of the negotiation room in apparent last-minute bargaining trick.
Likud may sign coalition deals with Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) later in the day, sources described as “knowledgable regarding the negotiations” told Army Radio Tuesday.
Nonetheless, UTJ representatives stormed out of the negotiations room Monday morning, after a loud shouting match regarding child benefits.
UTJ apparently wanted the benefits, which were slashed under then-Finance Minister Yair Lapid, brought back to their previous levels, and that the new, larger stipends be given retroactively from January.
Likud would have none of it and the meting adjourned in acrimony.
However, a source inside the negotiations told Army Radio: “This seems to be a maneuver. The haredim will come back shortly and then they will finish it, but as the end approaches they want to create an atmosphere of crisis.”
UTJ raised about 70 demands in the negotiations, according to the military station. The demands that are not acceptable to the other partners will be included in the coalition agreement, but in a formulation that is vague enough to keep everyone happy.